BURBANK, Calif. – Old-hand Regis Philbin (search) easily beat upstart Carson Daly in the battle for New Year's Eve viewers.
Philbin, subbing for the ailing Dick Clark, rang in 8 million viewers from 10 to 11 p.m. hosting "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" (search) last Friday — nearly doubling NBC's "New Year's Eve with Carson Daly" (search) (4.5 million viewers) in head-to-head competition, according to preliminary Nielsen numbers.
Philbin's ABC telecast ran until midnight, but post-11 p.m. viewership numbers won't be available until today.
The Philbin-hosted "New Year's Rockin' Eve" was up slightly from last year, when 7.8 million viewers watched Clark from 10 to 11 p.m. as he rang in the New Year live from Times Square.
Philbin, 73, was tapped as a last-minute replacement after Clark, 75, suffered a minor stroke early last month.
Fox's "New Year's Eve: Live from Times Square with Ryan Seacrest," hosted by the "American Idol" emcee, averaged a 3.3 rating from 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., according to overnights.
That was up 43 percent over Fox's 2003 New Year's Eve special (also hosted by Seacrest).